*How they qualified
*Germany topped Group C with an unbeaten record, sealing automatic qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ with nine victories from ten fixtures. Furthermore, coach Joachim Low’s charges hit 36 goals along the way, the most of any side in European zone qualifying. The three-time world champions’ eye-catching attacking displays have thrilled their fans and demonstrated why they are among the favourites to take the title in Brazil.
However, there is still plenty of room for improvement. The 4-4 draw with Sweden in Berlin is a painful memory, especially after Germany had led 4-0 lead. “We still have work to do before the World Cup,” commented Low. “I see two main areas to focus on: we need to stabilise both our defence and our play in the final third.”
FIFA World Cup finals history
Germany lie third in the all-time world football ranking with three FIFA World Cup triumphs, behind only Brazil on five and Italy on four. The 1954 team won the tournament in Switzerland as rank outsiders, in what became known as the Miracle of Berne. Franz Beckenbauer lifted the trophy on home soil in 1974, and Lothar Matthaus followed suit at Italy 1990.
The Germans have also finished runners-up four times, in 1966, 1982, 1986 and 2002, and came third on four occasions, in 1934 and 1970, and at the last two finals in 2006 and 2010. No other team has played more matches (99) or scored more goals (222) at the FIFA World Cup finals.
The key players
Keeper Manuel Neuer is the undisputed No1, while many experts believe he is the real deal, equipped not only to follow in the footsteps of Oliver Kahn and Jens Lehmann, but also to develop into one of the best in the world. Full-back Philipp Lahm and schemer Bastian Schweinsteiger earned their international spurs long ago: each has reached 100 caps but is still at their peak.
The next generation appears immensely promising too. Former Real Madrid starlet Mesut Ozil, who now laces his boots at Arsenal was just 21 when he thrilled the crowds at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and is a gifted creative player with passing ability to match the best in the world. Up front, Thomas Muller won the adidas Golden Boot and was named Best Young Player at the 2010 finals, while youngsters Andre Schurrle, Toni Kroos and Mario Gotze keep getting better and better .
Coach: Joachim Low
Best performances in a FIFA competition: FIFA World Cup Switzerland 1954, Germany 1974, Italy 1990 (Winners), FIFA U-20 World Cup Australia 1981 (Winners)
Former stars: Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Lothar Matthaus